Erin Condren Monthly Planner Review & Buying Guide

Thank you to the Erin Condren team who sent me these products for my thoughts and review. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase something, I may earn a commission at no cost to you.

I was having a conversation with my Mom the other day. There’s something you should know about her, and it’s that she is a die-hard monthly planner gal. She’s been using the same brand of monthly planner for as long as we both can remember. My mom is also the person who taught me how to plan. We’ve planned many a family vacation in those monthly planners. We were talking and she told me she was getting tired of her monthly planner. Did I have a suggestion I could make for her?

Her timing was honestly perfect, because on June 2, Erin Condren will be releasing their 2021-2022 Monthly Planner collection. I’ve kept an Erin Condren Monthly Planner in my planner stack for the last few years, and yes–it’s part nostalgia, an experience I share with my mom. But, I also use a Monthly Planner because they are incredibly versatile. In today’s post, I will cover everything you need to know about the Erin Condren Monthly Planner launch, including specs, sizes, layouts, options, and prices. And after we review the details, I’ll show you why monthly planners are one of my favorite underrated planners. I will share a bunch of ideas for how to use your monthly planner. Hopefully, if you’re on the fence about getting one, one of these ideas will tip the scales for you!

Whenever I review a new planner, I keep five factors in mind. To me these are the five most important factors in deciding whether to buy a planner. They all happen to start with the letter C, so I call them my “5 C’s”. These factors – not in order of importance, mind you – are coil, cover, customization, components, and cost.

The monthly planner is available in two sizes on Erin Condren’s classic metal coil. The coil is the backbone and binding of the planner. If you take your planner on the go frequently, you’ll be thankful to have the sturdy coil keeping everything together. Coils are also great for snap-in accessories. If you’ve never used a coil planner, they’re especially helpful for monthly planners–you can lay the planner flat and easily see (and write) on both sides of the monthly spread. The two size options in this year’s Monthly Planner are the 7 x 9 and larger 8.5 x 11. At launch, there is not a smaller A5 size, or a ring binding option for the monthly planner. 

Depending on the size you choose, you may have an option to select one of two themes. If you opt for the smaller 7 x 9 size you can choose between a refreshed Mid Century Circles theme, or the Flora theme. I detailed these themes (with plenty of photos!) in the LifePlanner launch last month. You’ll recognize Mid Century Circles, as it’s been a staple theme for the brand for several years. Each month in Flora features a unique bloom and an inspirational message inspired by the symbolism of that month’s flower. Both themes are available in the 7 x 9 size, but if you go for the bigger 8.5 x 11 size, your only theme option is Mid Century Circles. If you are new to Erin Condren, these themes won’t radically alter your planner experience. They are the aesthetic design for the interior pages and the exterior covers of the planner.

On the inside, the layout is consistent between sizes. You won’t lack for paper quality, as Erin Condren uses high-quality 80# mohawk paper. Each month includes a full monthly spread followed by eight lined notes pages. There is a notes page backing up the monthly quote page and a notes page opposite the productivity page as well. So in total, each month contains 10 notes pages for a total of 120 throughout the planner. Herein lies the allure of the monthly planner: It is an amazing project planner. The open-ended notes sections afford you an opportunity to make your planner as you see fit.  

If you choose, you have the option to customize your planner and add in 40 or 80 additional lined or productivity notes pages to the back of the planner. This is perfect if you want your monthly planner to be a dedicated journal or notebook to supplement the monthly spreads. One customization option of note is you can choose the start date for your monthly planner. Personalization is a staple of Erin Condren’s brand, so in addition to these extra notes pages, you have the option of selecting an interchangeable planner cover that snaps onto your coil. These covers keep your planner fresh throughout the seasons and Erin Condren releases many new collections and collaborations throughout the year. You can always personalize these covers with your name, and many covers can include a custom picture as well!

In terms of cost, the Monthly Planner starts at $40 for the 7 x 9 size and starts at $45 for the 8.5 x 11 size. The price will increase as you customize and personalize the planner. But compared to what you’d pay for a LifePlanner ($65+), the Monthly Planner is a great value. What help is a planner if you don’t know what to do with it, however? If you are new to a monthly planner or even if you buy one every year, it’s always great to remember their flexibility. Here are some ideas to scratch the surface of what you can do with your monthly planner.

Budget Planner

  1. Ah, life’s eternal struggle: Making (and sticking to) your budget. That work–tedious for many–is made much easier by the Monthly Planner’s open-ended flexibility and ample notes pages. I’ve seen friends and colleagues find success using their monthly planner for:

    • Tracking family finances 

    • Savings goals

    • Debt payoff

Wellness Planner

Ah, life’s other eternal struggle: Working out consistently! Not everyone struggles with it, but I do! The monthly planner, when used as a tracking tool, is a phenomenal outlet for making goals related to wellness, creating a plan, and tracking your progress toward this goal. Use the extra notes pages at the back to create a repository of Workout-Of-The-Day that you love. Or use it as a dedicated journal for a more holistic approach to wellness. Here are some of the ideas I’ve seen:

  • Workouts 

  • Food tracking / dieting 

  • Emotional wellbeing / journaling 

  • Self-care

Meal Planner 

I find that many other planners aren’t great for meal prep because they don’t offer me enough space to write out recipes. Fair enough, I also have big handwriting. If using the Erin Condren Monthly Planner to plan your meals, you could use the monthly spread to chart out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and the notes pages to keep great recipes you love. Planning this way on a monthly basis gives you a complete view of 30 days, which I find more instructive than flipping day by day to track what I ate!

  • Track your meals 

  • Recipes 

  • Grocery shopping 

Home management 

Managing a home can look like many different things on a given day, which is why the flexibility and space in the Monthly Planner is so helpful. My mom is using hers to track their major home renovation project, including deadlines and budgeting. But you might use yours to manage other aspects of your home, and that’s OK too!

  • Cleaning

  • Repairs 

  • Home project tracking 

  • Renovations 

Memory keeping/journaling 

If you haven’t used a planner to keep memories, let me tell you: It’s a game changer. It turns the idea of forward planning on its head a bit, but you use your planner as a retroactive tracker. I love scrapbooking, but creating a scrapbook from scratch has been a challenge for me. This planner gives you the dedicated, time-based framework. You color in the lines, in essence, with stickers, pictures, and short journal entries about each week. Other ideas:

  • Add photos 

  • Write down daily gratitude 

  • Add pages for those special moments

  • Journal entries

Other ideas

You could be like my mom and use the Monthly Planner as your main planner! The upshot is you’ll get the most simple planning system on the market. This is perfect for people who are light users of their planner and don’t need the minutiae tracked in great detail.

  • Main Planner

  • Work planner

  • Content Planner 

Are you planning to snag the Erin Condren Monthly Planner at launch? Let me know by leaving me a comment here or over on Instagram! Not planning to buy the Monthly Planner but you have ideas of your own for how to creatively use one? I’d love to know that, too.

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